Like many other pop cultures – and society as a whole – comics haven’t always been a welcoming place for LGBTQ + people. But this pride month DC Comics released “DC Pride”, an anthology featuring queer characters from queer creators.
Be gay, commit crimes
Comic book writer Sina Grace found out this book was in the works and begged to be a part of it, Grace tells us. He contributed to the story “Be Gay, Do Crimes,” using the popular queer anarchist slogan to tell a story about how different generations view issues affecting LGBTQ + communities.
Grace’s story features the reformed Flash supervillain Pied Piper and an upstart criminal who follows in her footsteps, Drummer Boy. Pied Piper, who uses a flute with hypnotic powers, bumps into the new character and his overpowered electronic drums.
“I was asked [Pied Piper] before and I didn’t feel like I had something to say at the time, ”said Grace.
He found a way in character with a story of how the perspective can shift from one generation of queer activists to another, as well as how that perspective changes as you get older.
“It was just a conversation with myself about how a younger version of me would see me,” Grace said.
The new character Drummer Boy is someone who has an aggressive and forward-thinking approach to Gen Z heroism, according to Grace. He resorts to crime as a landlord raises the rent in a gay neighborhood, going from bars to homeless resource centers and trying to force everyone out.
“While [Drummer Boy] doesn’t believe in binaries, he believes that if you summarize something, there is always right and wrong, and you should just do the right thing, ”Grace said.
Supporting gay-owned businesses is important to Grace. As Drummer Boy at Pied Piper puts it, “the poor can only ground so much.” Ouch.
“I have felt that too over the past year. All these companies that I love are like, “We need the money. And you get to a point where you’re like, ‘Actually, I don’t have any more money to give right now,’ Grace said.
But Pied Piper manages to present another point of view, with progress made without going beyond the law.
“You see people are making progress within the system, and not just with the LGBTQ community,” Grace said.
He sees Drummer Boy as representing a new generation who have the ability to find who they are in an entirely new way. Drummer Boy has a punk attitude, taking inspiration from the Japanese magical girl trope and transforming into his own Power Ranger, according to Grace.
“There is so much more language now than there ever was, which is really exciting. Have words for every aspect of your identity, ”Grace said. “I thought I was just that thing, but actually there’s a whole damn full spectrum, and I can find a better fit for myself. “
Draw your influences in the work
Grace is an artist in her own right, having illustrated a number of comics and continuing to make her own works of art. He drew the initial design for Drummer Boy before collaborating with artists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt to complete this design and make it into the pages of “DC Pride”. Grace sent her collaborators links to Instagram accounts and other online personalities who inspired her, including dancer Erik Cavanaugh, who went viral as a tall man dancing in stilettos.
“He moves like an angel,” Grace said. “I really wanted the character to move beautifully and elegantly.”
Grace made headlines when he wrote Iceman of the X-Men for Marvel following the release of the character, one of the most prominent gay characters in the comic book world. When he moved to DC, feeling that Marvel wasn’t promoting his run on Iceman, Grace was happy to have the chance to write non-gay characters.
“At DC, I was very happy not to be put in a box, or not to be hired because of my qualifications,” said Grace. “I didn’t feel any pressure to say to myself ‘OK I have to put a rainbow flag on this Shazam story’ or ‘Plastic Man needs a gay best friend.’ Although, now that I’ve said it out loud, yeah, Plastic Man needs a gay best friend.
The team behind “DC Pride” gave Grace a different experience than how he felt with Marvel, he said.
“The most important thing is that there are people behind the scenes who reflect cultures and communities who need more TLC to get these stories off the ground, and embrace them and do well, do well,” said Grace.
DC was part of an LGBTQ + anthology a few years ago, following the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016. But rather than being born out of tragedy, “DC Pride” features more queer joy.
“There is this great demand for joy and respect,” Grace said. “It made me so happy that they thought of it and sought to reflect the spectrum of experiences and moods. For me personally, pride is not just a celebration, but it has to be a reflection too. .
His freelance work included a book set in Los Angeles, “Ghosted In LA,” another book that dealt with economic issues and the creative arts.
“What I never understood living in this city, and it took going to college elsewhere and making friends with transplants, is that the small fluoride program in the water in the city tells people that you can make money in the arts, ”Grace says.“ And that’s something I didn’t realize isn’t ubiquitous everywhere. I grew up with a comic book editor a bus ride away, and I could intern and watch my favorite comic artist, Michael Turner, because of the film industry and the animation industry. .
During this story, Grace wanted to share the message that women and women can make money by telling jokes, drawing books, playing, directing and more.
“You can make money doing art. And it’s not just one avenue. And it’s so clutching,” Grace said.
Grace continues to deliver inspiring messages in “Be Gay, Do Crimes”, hoping her audiences will find inspiration in her pages.
“DC Pride” is in stores and available online now, rivaling Marvel Comics releases its own “Marvel’s Voices: Pride” June 23. “DC Pride” is part of a larger Pride Month initiative that also includes the gay-centric book “Crush & Lobo”, as well as alternate Pride Month covers on other books and several new ones. YA books featuring weird characters.
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